Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, San Francisco

4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars - 18 Reviews

200 Larkin Street (415) 379-8800

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    Asian Art Museum
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    Asian Art Museum
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  • WulfstanTraveller's Profile Photo

    Asian Art Museum

    by WulfstanTraveller Written Jan 5, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Asian Art Museum, San Francisco
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    As befitting its long history as the centre of Asian-American, and particularly Chinese-American culture and its large Asian population, San Francisco has an excellent Asian Art Museum.

    It has large collections of art and artifacts spanning many centuries from China and Japan, with a smaller collection from Korea. It also displays some works from other parts of the continent of Asia, not just East Asia. For example, in the Winter of 2008-2009, it has a small but nice display on Islamic Art from Turkey to Indonesia as the display on treasures from Afghanistan.

    The building itself is also rather grand. Until 1996, it was San Francisco's central public library, after which the library was moved to a new building across the street and this building transformed into the museum. The old library building, near City Hall, was built as part of the new Beaux Arts Civi Center complex following the 1906 Earthquake and was completed about 1917.

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  • skullcrusher's Profile Photo

    Asian Art

    by skullcrusher Written Mar 28, 2008

    I can think of few American cities better suited to have a museum dedicated to Asian art and I must say that the Asian Art Museum is a fine museum indeed. Whether you like the culture of Asia or not, if you can appreciate fine art then you'll find plenty of things to admire.

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    Travel To Asia Within San Francisco

    by poetjo Written Jan 29, 2008

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    I decided to take advantage of the free first Tuesday at the museum and I am so glad I did. The museum itself is beautifully designed. I was fascinated with the Buddhist sculptures from China to Japan to India and Thailand. The intricacies of the artwork and attention to detail were just incredible. I was also quite taken with seeing the Koran on exhibit. Being a writer I loved the Japanese calligraphy exhibit as well as the beautiful shoji screens. I derived much inspiration for my writing by visiting the museum and will definitely go back again. Also, great gift shop. I found some stunningly crafted Haiku poetry and art greeting cards which I'll definitely have to go back for more.

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    Asian Art Museum of San Francisco: Cambodia/Iran

    by atufft Updated Apr 1, 2007

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    Khmer Exhibit, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco
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    Again, these are relatively small collections, but there are some very fine specimens. I appreciated the Khmer pieces because I've been to Angkor Wat. Such statues as these won't be found at the ruins. I rarely get to see Persian art, either pre-Islamic or otherwise, so I spent a special moment here studying the exhibits before moving onto the huge Indian collection. One of the images shows the audio/video support, which is so important to understanding many aspects of symbolism and style in this artwork.

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    Asian Art Museum of San Francisco: Tibet/Indonesia

    by atufft Updated Apr 1, 2007

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    Tibetan Exhibit, Asian Art Museum
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    The Asian Art Museum is very well organized with audio and video displays within each of the major departments. Unlike many such collections that have a mixture of specimens, the new collection is very clear to avoid this confusion. I was very impressed by the small but significant Tibetan and Indonesian collections. The size, quality, and age of the bronze wine vessels stunned me. Hug cast bronze vessels from 1500 BCE! The Indonesian collection has a very nice display of puppets of authentic origin. Non-flash/non-tripod photography is allowed for the Brundage Collection, but not for the special exhibits within the Asian Art Museum, so it's important to bring a good camera thats low light and image stabilization capable. Fortunately, the lighting is ideal for photography. No filters or special light settings are needed.

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    Asian Art Museum of San Francisco: Chinese Art

    by atufft Updated Apr 1, 2007

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    Chinese Wood Statue at Asian Art Museum
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    The size and range of epochs covered by the original Brundage collection is fantastic! The museum not only has hundreds of smaller specimens in gilded bronze, wood, ceramic, and iron, but dozens of large stone, iron, gilded bronze pieces. The collection ranges from the prehistoric to the 19th century, with many, many pieces from the Song through Ming dynasties. These are well presented and well documented in terms of origin, although regettably, the exact archeological origin of many specimens remains unknown because Brundage no doubt bought from whoever was willing to sell. These pieces are legally part of the collection though, and will remain an asset for Asian Americans and Americans in generally living in California.

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    Asian Art Museum of San Francisco; Introduction

    by atufft Updated Apr 1, 2007

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    Asian Art Museum, San Francisco
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    Originally, the Avery Brundage contributed his priceless collection of Asian art if the city was willing to build a special place to show it. For years, that place was a special wing of the DeYoung Museum in Golden Gate park. However, Brundage continued to collect and donate, and insisted that the city create a separate administration for Asian art, with the goal of making San Francisco's collection the leading Asian collection within the USA. At the time of the De Young Museum rebuild, and the city's construction of a new library complex, the city granted the old main library building in the civic center plaza for display of the museum collection. Originally built in 1917, the library was itself a historic building in need of renovation. With the donation of $15 million from Silicon
    Valley entrepreneur Chong-Moon Lee and the creative talents of renowned Italian architect Gae Aulenti--widely recognized as a designer who specializes in the adaptive reuse of historic structures in to museum spaces--the building has managed to retain the wonderful design features and even paint of the original building while being completedly retrofit from the foundation up to survive seismic dangers and introduce a more light and space to it's three floors for the Asian Museum's growing collection. In many ways, this collection of art represents San Francisco's greatest museum collection as provides the best and largest collection of Asian art outside of Asia. These images focus on the architecture, but I was also able to photograph many exhibits, so keep reading...

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  • Martin_S.'s Profile Photo

    Asian Art Museum and fun with friends

    by Martin_S. Updated Dec 15, 2006
    Painting Thangka with Karen in Asian Art Museum
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    Karen (karenincalifornia) and Greg decided that we needed some culture and took us to see the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. Well we were glad they did. Karen and I had some fun sitting on the floor and doing a painting called Thankgka, the process of painting the Thankgka is supposed to bring inner peace...I can tell you for sure that my painting skills did nothing to bring "outer" peace to those suffering from seeing my works...^O^
    The building itself is a very beautifully designed structure, but looks more suited to a bank. As you can see even the ceilings were beautifully sculpted and decorated. I think that Karen mentioned that at one time it served as a library. You can also become a member where you are entitled to "members only" exhibition previews. These memberships also help support the museum.

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    Asian Art Museum, the art

    by Martin_S. Updated Dec 15, 2006

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    Asian Art Museum, fan art
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    And of course the real reason to visit the Asian Art Museum is because of the ART....when we visited there was a section devoted to items from Tibet, but they did not allow you to photograph there. We were able to photograph a few items in the Japanese section and you see a selection here. Some of the woven baskets although a basket seems to be a useful item for everyday life, these here were merely decorative, well "merely" may not be a good word to use here, they were bright, airy and fantastic, but I would not put my fruit in them.
    The "Asian" collection includes items from such other places as Pakistan, India, Iran, Indonesia, Cambodia, Burma, Afghanistan, Nepal and Mongolia. It is a well laid out and "user friendly" place with many wide open spaces and even a windowed roof over a large open area which lets you think you are less enclosed.

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  • USCgirlie's Profile Photo

    Asian Art Museum - collection of unique items

    by USCgirlie Written Mar 28, 2006

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    The Asian Art Museum, in addition to having traditional Asian art in the forms of sculptures, paintings, photographs, and the like, has collections of many interesting and unique items, such as the one in the picture - a large bowl-shaped object where the water flows downward. However, the unique, fascinating thing is that the water never seeps to the ground - the way the object was constructed is so that the water is always flows back into the object! Visitors are always fascinated by this particular object, stick their hands into the water, and are pleasantly surprised that the water never spills to the ground. The museum is closed on Mondays and has a fee of $10 admission for adults, however has such great deals as being free on the first Tuesday of every month as well as being a discounted $5 on Thursday nights. Children under 12 are free.

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  • symbiont's Profile Photo

    Asian Art

    by symbiont Written Feb 26, 2006

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    China
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    This is an exceptional museum. I am very much interested in Asian culture so I am a little biased. There is a feeling that they need to fill it up a bit more though. It is a large space, and only 2 floors are on exhibit. The Korean exhibit is thin, but the Chinese artifacts on display dominate the space.

    A few obscure peices from Pakistan and India. Nothing from Russia.

    I will definitely be back to this one...

    The art name and title plates are peeling up after people have touched them. This looks cheap!

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  • Tom_Fields's Profile Photo

    The Asian Art Museum

    by Tom_Fields Written Oct 25, 2005

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    The Asian Art Museum

    San Francisco's Asian Art Museum has the finest, and certainly largest, collection of Asian art that I've ever seen. It covers the art, culture, and history of all East Asian countries: China, India, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma, and ancient Tibet. It has painting, sculpture, and crafts. You could easily spend a whole day here.

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  • sarahjayn's Profile Photo

    The Asian Art Museum in San Francisco

    by sarahjayn Written May 31, 2005

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    Dude, don't make him mad!

    The Asian Art Museum, first of all, is HUGE! It's a very comprehensive museum that is organized first by region and then chronologically.
    I loved visiting here - they had so many things that you read about but never expect to be inches away from (such as the Terracotta Warriors). It was really amazing experience.
    If you're sick of going to museums to see stuff done by dead white guys, this is your place.

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  • geeyook's Profile Photo

    Asian Art Museum

    by geeyook Updated Nov 15, 2004
    Plate from Asian Art Museum Collection

    The Asian Art Museum was started in 1966 as a result of the donation of Avery Brundage's Asian art collection. Orginally housed in wing of the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, it was moved to its new location in Civic Center in 2003. It features nearly 15,000 pieces and spans 6,000 years of history. It is opened Tuesday through Sunday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm with extended evening hours every Thursday until 9:00 pm (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day). Admission is required but the first Tuesday of each month is free to the public.

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  • iam1wthee's Profile Photo

    Asian Art Museum

    by iam1wthee Written Nov 10, 2004

    It is free on Tuesdays and this is the day I recommend going. The collection is both modern and some old relics of the past. There is a performance area in the middle. The day I went they had a band playing some songs.

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